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Work values preferences of Generation Y: Performance relationship insights in the Australian public service

Work values preferences of Generation Y

Richard Winter and Brent Jackson 

Empirical research to date has provided few insights into the values and performance norms of Generation Y in the workplace. Our exploratory qualitative study treats work values preferences as inferred performance behavior in an attempt to shed light on the Generation Y performance relationship in the Australian Public Service (APS).

Adopting a person–organization values fit framework, our study draws attention to how Generation Y employees (N = 60) and older managers (N = 20) shape key aspects of performance around their own different values judgments of APS operational procedures (i.e. ‘unnecessary bureaucracy’ vs. ‘legitimate governance’) and merit-based promotion (i.e. ‘it’s just wasting people’s time’ vs. ‘younger employees expect too much, too soon’).

Findings suggest areas of work supportive of an efficient Generation Y performance relationship (i.e. Generation Ys’ work ethic), as well as inefficient areas of performance where managers and Generation Y hold different work values preferences (i.e. unrealistic expectations; underperforming colleagues; decision-making processes). Performance implications associated with how managers may respond to the work values preferences of Generation Y are discussed.

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Updated:   18 February 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Dean, Business & Economics / Page Contact:  College Web Team